Businesses optimistic as covid cases continue to drop in Zimbabwe
Businesses optimistic as covid cases continue to drop in Zimbabwe daily. The decrease in new daily Covid infections in Zimbabwe has brought optimism among economic actors who are eager to see the return to normalcy in business operations.
Many businesses had been adversely affected by the current level four level 4 lockdown which curtailed business operating hours to between 8am and 3.30 pm.
Under the level 4 lockdown, on-premise workforce is limited to 40 percent, negatively impacting productivity. However, for the past 7 days, average daily infections have declined to below the 500 mark, a huge drop for the first time since the start of the third wave that had been peaking at levels of around 2000.
This drop in daily infections is positive news for business operators, mainly among the small to medium enterprises (SMEs) who are among the worst hit by the pandemic-induced lockdown.
“It’s a welcome development that cases are now declining and it points to us having gotten over the worst of it. I think the vaccination program has been the biggest factor in reducing the infections and the general improved awareness by the masses,” said SME Association of Zimbabwe executive officer, Farai Mutambanengwe.
“We are optimistic this will improve business as authorities might be compelled to open up the economy and enable people to work more hours. The level of damage to business cannot be overemphasized,” he said.
Covid cases continue to drop
The number of new Covid-19 cases in Zimbabwe continued to drop with the country recording 444 new cases and 29 deaths on Monday. Though monday’s figures are almost double sunday’s figures of 235 new cases it is a positive devolopment from previous sunday’s 566. This was however been a major decline compared to 2 265 on 23 July for instance.
“As anticipated, the third wave is slowly drying out and this is positive for the economy in general especially now that inflation is slowing as well. This will create a fertile ground for business activity once the economy is fully re-opened,” said economic analyst Pepukai Chivore.
Lessons learnt from Israel
However, no matter how the daily infections drop, we must always be on guard for a fourth wave coming if we become complacent in the fight against the pandemic.
Let us take example of Israel. Israel has among the world’s highest levels of vaccination for COVID-19, with 78% of those 12 and older fully vaccinated. However, it is now logging one of the world’s highest infection rates, with nearly 650 new cases daily per million people, with more than half of them being fully vaccinated. This is due to the extraordinary rate of transmission of the Delta variant. The sheer number of vaccinated Israelis becoming infected means that some breakthrough infections are inevitable. The unvaccinated are still far more likely to end up in the hospital or die than the vaccinated. Israel’s experience shows us that even if we become fully vaccinated, even if the daily infections drop, we must be wary of the fourth wave on the return to nomalcy.